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Game balls | Gibson, McLaurin, defense shine in win over Packers


The Washington Commanders claimed their second victory in as many games, defeating the Green Bay Packers at home, 23-21. Terry McLaurin, Antonio Gibson and the entire defense were instrumental in helping to propel Washington to the hard-fought win.   

Terry McLaurin  

Washington's WR1 had a beautiful touchdown in the third quarter, beating Green Bay's Jaire Alexander with his route and secure hands for the score that saw the Commanders take a lead they have never relinquished. That catch was his seventh career receiving touchdown of at least 35 yards and his second against the Packers. It was also the 11th reception of his career with a completion probability under 25%.  

McLaurin's impact, however, went far beyond that big-time play. He led the team in with five receptions for 73 yards, and in the fourth quarter, showed both his smarts and skill to ensure his team held onto the win. With just under three minutes to go, McLaurin did well to not only catch the ball in a crucial situation but get a few precious extra yards while staying in bounds to keep the clock running. Just a couple of plays later, McLaurin hauled in a well-directed, 12-yard pass from Heinicke with minimal room for error on a high-pressure third down to get the first down that effectively sealed the game.

Antonio Gibson

Following Washington's win over Chicago in Week 6, head coach Ron Rivera expressed his desire to utilize running backs Gibson and Brian Robinson in a more tandem manner than they were implemented at Soldier Field. True to his word, Gibson saw the ball much earlier on in today's content.

While he recorded a couple of key runs in the beginning of the game, including a 26-yard kickoff return, his 20-yard rush on Washington's fifth possession gave the offense a big spark and ultimately, it was Gibson who would cap off that strong drive. The running back did well to get his hands on a Heinicke throw near the back of the end zone and tip toe to keep his feet in for the Commanders' first touchdown of the game and the fourth receiving touchdown of his career.

Gibson finished the game with 13 carries for 77 yards. With the performance, he surpassed 700 receiving yards, becoming the eighth running back in franchise history to record at least 700 receiving yards within their first three seasons.

The defense

Rivera called this victory against the Packers unit a full team effort, and the defense offered a perfect, zoomed-in example of that statement. Continuing the trend it has steadily started to establish in recent weeks, Washington's defense was one of the best performing units on the field this afternoon. The group limited the Packers to just 47 plays (as compared to the Commanders' 72) for 232 net yards (as compared to the Commanders' 364). Jamin Davis, who has strung together a series of strong outings recently, recorded multiple tackles for loss for the first time in his career while others such as Rachad Wildgoose and Benjamin St-Juste did well to execute their responsibilities.

In undoubtedly the most impressive stat of the game, Washington held Green Bay without a third-down conversion in the win. This marks the first time the Packers have not had a third-down conversion since October 17,1999 and the first time Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has not converted a third down game in his career.

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